Sigler steely about b-to-b Web site's success

April 24, 2000


This is one of an ongoing series on interactive marketing leaders who are doing things other marketers can learn from. They are not yet household names, but the executives we profile are laboring in the trenches today and will be in the headlines tomorrow. They're the emerging leaders of an emerging marketing discipline.

Name, rank and serial number: Sherry Sigler, 42, senior director of marketing for
e-Steel. B.S. in Journalism, University of Southern California. Joined ad agencies Hill, Holliday and Ogilvy & Mather in account management, working on Hyatt, Reebok and American Express. Prior to joining e-Steel, worked client side for J. Crew and Princeton Review Inc. Served as marketing consultant to magazines Fast Company, BusinessWeek, ESPN and U.S. News & World Report.

Mantra: "Don't do anything halfway. If you're going to go, go big."

Early Ambition: "Long before women were actually in sports broadcasting, I wanted to be a sports broadcaster, the first female voice of the Dodgers. (But I) decided advertising was the place to use my communication background."

How she got involved with the Internet: "I spent much of my early career focused on the youth market, (and I) got recruited to head marketing at the Princeton Review (test preparation company). We were one of the first 200 corporate entities on the Web."

Princeton Review famously registered the name of its chief competitor, Kaplan Inc.-a wholly-owned subsidiary of Washington Post Co.-as a Web site. "We were early in understanding the Internet and the technology behind it. We wanted to see how long it would take Kaplan to figure it out." Kaplan sued, and Sigler says Princeton Review gave up the URL "for a case of beer or something like that."

On joining e-Steel: "I met Michael Levin, our CEO, founder and chairman. I'd been reading about business-to-business being the next great wave of the Internet. I was intrigued after reading; I was sold after talking to Michael.

"I knew this was the front row of business-to-business on the Internet. I knew it was going to be big. I don't just like winning the race-I like setting the records."

Upon arrival at e-Steel: "I knew exactly what I had to do: create the buzz.

I've always thought that PR builds the fire, and advertising and marketing fan the flames. You need awareness and credibility."

On companies build that through press coverage: "With business-to-business, the journalists can't always see what you're doing. We don't give out passwords unless you're a buyer or seller of steel, so you have to get the industry watchers-the Gartners and the Forresters-into the loop. We got a lot of good feedback because the journalists were in touch with the leading industry analysts."

On the cultural difference in b-to-b vs. b-to-c: "More gray hair, yet it's bolted to the Internet. B-to-c tends to be (people in their) 20s and early 30s. They all drink beer together, watch sports together. They all have the same music habits. There's more of a generational mix in b-to-b."

Michael Krauss is a partner with Diamond Technology Partners in Chicago.
He can be reached at






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